2013 Christmas Message

2013 Christmas Message by His Excellency Charles A. Savarin, D.A.H., President of the Commonwealth of Dominica

My fellow Citizens and Residents of Dominica,
We are once again in that time of the year when we are called to prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ whose coming was foretold by the prophet Isaiah in these words: "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa 7: 14). In the Gospel of Matthew, we are told that the name Emmanuel means God – with – us. Matthew goes on to further explain that the baby boy should be called Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

The birth of Jesus was a far reaching and transformative event which continues to reverberate throughout the world to this day, over two thousand years since it occurred.

The Constitution of Dominica draws its fundamental principles from the Judaeo- Christian traditions on justice and peace, and its framers boldly declare in the preamble that we are a nation under the supremacy of God. For generations, and long before Dominica became independent, we joined Christians all over the world in the celebration of Christmas, a celebration that recalls the birth of Christ and of His life among us as man.

Over the years, the true meaning of Christmas has been overshadowed by an invasive commercialization and consumerism that is attractive in appearance, but costly in practice, since we too often accentuate the worldly aspect rather than the Christ aspect of Christmas. However, what does stand out in our celebration of the season, is the extent to which family and friends reach out to each other and seek out the less fortunate with gifts and words of cheer that tell them they are loved and are not forgotten. But to really embrace the message and the promise of Christmas, we must be committed in our thoughts, words and deeds, to Christ our Saviour and to one another.

In this regard there is one institution, the Music Lovers Government Band, which has not failed over the years to exemplify this spirit of caring. I therefore want to say a personal thank you to the Music Lovers Government Band. This band has continued to carry on the tradition of visiting most of our communities and institutions in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, bringing cheer and goodwill to citizens in the rural areas with renderings of traditional Christmas carols, and others of local and more recent composition. Many of the band members make a sacrifice of the time they could share with their families, so that they can bring glad tidings to others in song - a true act of giving and serving which helps in fostering a spirit of brotherhood in the society.

Christians and non Christians alike are taken up with the excitement that fills the air in the days leading up to Christmas. The expressions "Merry Christmas", and "Compliments of the Season" flow effortlessly from our lips with a sincerity that is disarming and all embracing. How lovely would it be if such sentiments prevailed in our relationships with each other throughout the year!

One of the many titles given to Jesus is "Prince of Peace". When we reflect on the status of our world in current times, we are troubled by the extent to which so many of our brothers and sisters with whom we share a common humanity, are traumatized by the ravages of war and conflict, dislocated and homeless because of tribal, religious and ideological intolerance. This intolerance which is often the cause of wars and endless conflicts, subverts the possibility of a peaceful coexistence in the face of differences that pits us on opposite sides of the political, ethnic and religious divide.

We should be grateful to the Prince of Peace that in Dominica even when we are unable to resolve our differences, we conduct ourselves in a manner that does not result in communal strife and leave our brothers in pain, misery, loss of loved ones and hopelessness.

Nevertheless, we have seen over the years a tendency to engage in negative and unwarranted attacks on the structures and institutions and individuals in our society, thus causing undue animosity and negativity towards one another and thereby engendering concern both here and abroad regarding our tranquility and stability.

The time has come to reverse this trend by developing a spirit of constructive criticism since "Donminik se sa nou" (Dominica belongs to us). Therefore, just as the infant Jesus brought peace to the world let us allow him, the Prince of Peace, to transform our lives, that we may experience the joy of reconciliation even in our diversity.

As an act of solidarity and identity with the mission of the Messiah who was born on Christmas day, let us look outward with thanksgiving, and offer prayers for the victims of war, injustice, abuse, and other forms of violence. At home, let us work harder to be at peace with ourselves and with each other in all our dealings and relationships.

Along with my wife Clara and other members of my family, I extend to all of you our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a New Year that will see your cup filled and overflowing with God's abundant love and His everlasting blessings.

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